The Latest: Colombia: Temporary legal status for Venezuelans
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):
Colombia says it will grant temporary legal status to more than 150,000 Venezuelans who have overstayed visas due to the deteriorating political and economic crisis in their home country.
Colombia Migration Director Christian Kruger said Friday the status will be good for up to two years and let recipients work and receive social security benefits.
Venezuelans must have entered Colombia legally on or before July 25 to qualify.
In recent years Colombia has received hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants, many of whom have Colombian roots.
The migrants are fleeing triple-digit inflation, food and medical shortages and a homicide rate that is among the world’s highest. In recent months more than 100 people have died in civil unrest in Venezuela.
The new legal status does not provide aid to the thousands who entered illegally.
Venezuela’s chief prosecutor is reporting at least 114 deaths in nearly four months of protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
Late Thursday the prosecutor’s office released a list of 109 dead from violence related to demonstrations and street blockades across the country.
The office later reported at least five more deaths via Twitter, including a police officer slain Thursday afternoon in the town of Ejido, Merida state. The western state has been the scene of violent clashes between protesters and police.
The toll is expected to climb as authorities enforce a ban on protests ahead of a polarizing vote Sunday to begin the rewriting of Venezuela’s constitution. Protesters say the election of a constitutional assembly will allow Maduro to eliminate democratic checks and balances and install an authoritarian single-party system.